The statistics I’ve read indicate that Americans are not getting sufficient sleep. The average in 1942 was 7.9 hours of sleep/night. The current average is 6.8 hours of sleep/night. 43% of American say they would feel better if they got more sleep. Not surprisingly, older adults got more sleep and 20-30 year old adults with children under 18 got the least amount.
Why does it matter whether we get 5 hours (like Winston Churchill) or 8 hours? Again research has shown that if we are shortchanging ourselves on sleep we will be less efficient and more irritable. Our brains will not be as nimble and our response times will be longer. This means that we will be less able to concentrate, more prone to making mistakes at work, and more likely to have accidents when driving. Our ability to handle criticism or disagreement will be lessened and relationships with others will become strained.
The fact is our bodies need sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, when we sleep our blood pressure drops, breathing slows, muscles relax, blood supply to muscles increases, tissue growth and repair occurs, energy is restored, and hormones (such as growth hormones) are released.
Sleep, however, should not be confused with rest. We can sleep for eight hours but not wake up rested. Our minds may still be whirling and tormented by issues in our lives and we wake up exhausted. We need more than physical sleep to rest. The Bible speaks about a rest for your soul. Jesus speaks of this kind of rest in Matthew 11:28-30 when He bids us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give your rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”
There is a rest for the soul that starts with coming in all our weariness and exhaustion to Jesus Christ. His promise is to give us soul rest. When we come to Him He will lift our heavy yoke and crushing load and give us His easy yoke and light load.
What is the takeaway from all this? We need more than physical sleep because we are more than physical beings. We have souls which need rest. Our souls become burdened by the cares and troubles of this life. We need to bring our cares and troubles and sins to Jesus, our Burden Bearer. He will give us soul rest as we let Him carry what we cannot.
We all need soul rest to cope with life,